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Non-Groundspeak Caching Sites DO Promote Responsible Caching

Sat May 14, 2011 8:12 am

I know that there is a widespread misunderstanding that Groundspeak is the only site that cares about responsible geocaching, but just because a caching site offers more freedom / options and doesn't try to micro manage every aspect of the game, doesn't mean they have no rules / guidelines.

An ongoing discussion on NoVAGO led me to post some of the guidelines from the 3 other caching sites I use, in order to demonstrate that the "other" sites aren't "lawless" and do actually have guidelines that promote responsible geocaching.

From OpenCachingUS' Cache Placement wiki page...


* Read the Terms of Use for Opencaching.US.
* Respect all local laws and property rights.
* Seek permission to place the cache from the property owner/land manager.
* Do not dig, disassemble, or destroy property when placing or seeking a cache.
* Do not hide a cache where the location or the container will raise suspicion with people in the area or law enforcement.
* Use a clear container when possible and always mark the container as a geocache.

Forbidden sites for cache placement

Do not place a cache near:
* Elementary or Secondary Schools
* Railroad tracks
* Government buildings
* Military installations
* Ecologically protected areas
* Any place that has a policy against caches


Keep in mind that your hide may become someone's first geocache find.
* What impression of the hobby will they have after finding your cache?
* Will they likely want to search for another one?

Consider the location prior to placing and listing the cache.
* Would you want to bring a friend to this spot?
* Is this spot appropriate for the additional traffic (people & vehicles) that this cache could potentially bring to the area.

Consider the container you intend to use.
* Is it waterproof or will the contents, including paper log, get wet?
* Will the container be able to withstand being exposed to the elements for an extended period of time? Some examples of poor containers are:
Plastic bags used as the actual cache, because it breaks down quickly. (Inside a sturdy container they are great!)
Glass jars, because they can shatter and injure someone.
Candy tins, because they rust very quickly.
Ammo cans that still bear military markings, because they look dangerous to the average person.

Perform regular cache maintenance
* Periodically check the container, contents, and logbook. Replace or repair items as necessary.
* If the area is developing 'geo-trails' from people seeking the cache, consider moving or archiving the cache.

Online Resources
* A site that is attempting to capture caching policies of land managers all over the U.S. GeocachingPolicy

From Navicache's FAQ:

I want to hide my own cache, Can it be placed anywhere?
Since the first cache was hidden by Dave Ulmer back in the summer of 2000, geocaching has become very popular with thousands of caches now hidden around the world. While caches can be found in some very fascinating spots, you can't just place a cache where ever you want. First and foremost, a cache should never be placed on private property without prior permission from the land owner. If by chance you have received permission from a land owner to place a cache on their property, you must indicate in your cache listing that it has been placed with permission on private property. You certainly don't want those who come in search of your cache to be charged with trespassing or to simply turn around and leave without looking when they see the No Trespassing signs. Also, you should always make sure you place your cache in a well marked container. The outside of the container should always be clearly marked to indicate it is a "GEOCACHE". By marking the outside in this manner you will hopefully help prevent anyone who may accidentally stumble across your cache from simply removing it from its intended location or panicking about a strange container in the park.

Another thing to keep in mind while placing your cache is that while parks in your area may look like the perfect place to get started (and they usually are), you want to be sure to become familiar with restrictions in your area before you decide to set a cache in your favorite park. A growing number of state and local parks accept geocaching within the park area, but some parks do have restrictions to help protect certain delicate ecological areas from possibly being trampled. Remember, park managers or other public land stewards are held responsible to protect their parks from unauthorized disturbances. Some are concerned that placement of a geocache within the park may be potential problem due to unnecessary bushwhacking. On the other hand, many managers may welcome the cache if it is placed responsibly so that their is no measurable impact to the area. So if you are considering placing a physical cache on managed public lands, you may want to coordinate with the park manager in advance for proper placement. This will help reduce the chances your cache from being impounded! Remember, you should not have to needlessly bush-whack into an area to place your cache, and others should not have to bush-whack to find it and burying a cache on public managed lands is forbidden and against geocaching etiquette (not to mention plain old common sense!). In fact, another great way to give back is to always take a garbage bag along with you when Geocaching. This way you can remove any trash you may see along the trails. If everyone were to take out a little trash each time they went Geocaching, just think how nice our parklands would look?

What kind of things can be placed in a Cache?
Anything you think would fascinate another person. But whatever you decide, remember Geocaching is a family sport. Make sure what ever items you decide to place in any cache, are safe! This means sharp items, spray cans, lighters, knives, firecrackers or anything else that may harm someone should not be left in most caches. Remember that many times there will be children tagging along on these hunts and often they will be the first ones opening these cache containers. It is recommended that you place only things in a cache that you would not mind your own child finding. Kids love toys, and there are many that you can buy for very little money to place in the container. Some people even leave "Where's George" dollar bills to be logged on the Where's George web site. So please be safe, and think first before you decide what you will be adding to a Geocache. It is also highly recommended that you place a Navicache Stash Note in your container. This will help to identify what the container is, who placed it, and how to contact the owner if needed. A printable version of the Geocaching With Navicache Stash Note is currently available in both English and German.

And even TerraCaching is not the "anything goes" site they are often portrayed as. The following is from their Tutorial page.

Cache Guidelines Overview

This topic is definitely one that often causes some confusion among new members. So, we'll cut straight to the point. There are no written rules defining what types of caches are acceptable here, but that does not mean anything goes. We do try to focus on Quality caches, but that does not mean we only allow spectacular caches either. Put simply, we try to be the happy medium between sites with strict 4500+ word "guidelines" defining what's allowed and what's not, and those that allow anything and everything without question. The TerraCaching Community attempts to cast aside any preconceived notions that certain types of caches or hiding spots are inherently bad (or good), and instead judges each cache separately on its own merits.
Things to Consider

Just a few things to consider when placing and rating caches. Note that a cache does not need to meet all, or even most, of these criteria to be considered a quality cache here.
* Is the general area the cache is in an interesting place to visit?
* Will the cache be fun to hunt?
* Is the container size & camouflage appropriate for the location?
* Is there something (anything) unique, clever, or particularly interesting about this cache or the area?
* Are the coordinates well averaged and accurate?
* Are special physical considerations adequately mentioned so the cache-hunter can be properly prepared ahead of time?

Things to Avoid

And a few things to try to avoid when placing a cache. Note that a cache that fits into any of these criteria isn't necessarily bad either. Some very good caches could also meet some of these criteria and still be judged well by the community. As we said above, each cache is judged separately, on it's own merits.

* Caches in places that are especially unpleasant to visit.
* Cache containers, sizes or camouflage that are grossly inappropriate for the location or environment.
* Caches that fall into disrepair and are ignored or abandoned by their owners.
* Caches that are just carbon copies of other caches already available in the area, and lacking in any unique qualities to make them special.
* Caches that are simultaneously listed on other sites. (If you want to list it here, archive it there first, move it to a slightly different location if possible, and then submit it here.) (Cross-posting Event Caches, on the other hand, is encouraged.)
* Illegal cache placements. (No matter how many other redeeming values they may have, illegal caches will not be tolerated for any reason).
* Cache contents that reflect poorly on TerraCaching. We're all grown up enough to figure out how to keep from killing ourselves with pocket knives, but other items have undesired effects like starting fires, or attracting bears or other wildlife (fireworks, drugs, food, highly scented or perfumed items, etc.) Don't place items like these in caches, and if you find a cache with an inappropriate item, please remove the item.

Prohibited Caches?

Unlike other sites, there are no specific rules here against the following types of caches. In fact we already have some that the community has accepted. However, the requirement that they be "quality" caches still applies, and the community may hold caches like these to a higher standard than they would otherwise. If you have a cache idea that you haven't been able to post elsewhere and think it might work here, check with your sponsors and your local cachers to find out if it will pass muster. You might be surprised.

* Virtual Caches
* Webcam Caches
* Commercial/Charity Caches
* Caches that promote a social/political/religious agenda.

I've added emphasis on a few items that may be particularly surprising to those that only know these sites from what they read on the Groundspeak forums and might even think that covertly hiding caches on private property or restricted areas is actually encouraged.

Re: Non-Groundspeak Caching Sites DO Promote Responsible Cac

Sat May 14, 2011 10:47 am

Thanks for all that info. I've avoided going to those sites because of the stuff I've read on the forums. I think I'll go check them out now. :wink:

Re: Non-Groundspeak Caching Sites DO Promote Responsible Cac

Sat May 14, 2011 11:55 am

I realize that isn't the only reason people don't use the other sites, but think folks should at least have the correct information.

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Re: Non-Groundspeak Caching Sites DO Promote Responsible Cac

Sat May 14, 2011 12:57 pm

There was one missing from your list:

Opencaching.com hiding guidelines

Re: Non-Groundspeak Caching Sites DO Promote Responsible Cac

Sat May 14, 2011 1:58 pm

I don't use them. Thanks.

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